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1-on-1: A Conversation with Round 5’s Damon Lau

Whether you’re a hardcore UFC action figure collector, or simply looking to scoop up a few new collectibles modeled after your favorite fighters, Round 5 has just what you need this Spring with the Ultimate Collector Series 9 set. One of the best assortments yet, Series 9 packs a serious punch with an assortment of 6-inch collectibles created in honor of “Smooth” Ben Henderson, Cain Velasquez, Chris Leben, Jason Miller, Nick Diaz, and Don Frye. Going along with this month’s Ultimate Collector Series 9 release, we caught up with Round 5 President Damon Lau for a quick chat to get the inside scoop on this latest collection, hints at what’s in store for Series 10, and much more. Check it out below.

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I have to start this one off with a Thank You – I’ve been enjoying Don Frye sitting next to my computer for the last week. His mustache is impeccable. What made you decide to create a Don Frye figure?

Damon Lau: We have such a loyal and broad base of UFC fans that collect our products ranging from those who watched UFC/PRIDE since the very beginning to the casual fan who only started watching MMA in the past few years. The reason we made Don Frye is to create an item that pays homage to ‘vintage’ years of MMA giving some of our diehard fans something special to collect.  Also, nothing is more epic than the Don Frye mustache.

Are there plans to create any other “vintage” MMA characters?

DL: Absolutely. We recently announced Mark Coleman as a character in our Series 10 lineup coming out in August.

When can we expect to see a Cro Cop? Your fans are clamoring.

DL: We’ve always wanted to do a Cro Cop but have been unable to reach his management, as he is not part of the UFC licensing agreement. If we were able to connect, this would happen in a heartbeat.

The Nick Diaz PRIDE figure was an interesting choice, considering he’s only had one fight in PRIDE. How come you decided to go with this?

DL: There are both UFC and PRIDE versions of Nick Diaz available now. The difference is that the PRIDE version is something that is available only to online retailers and specialty stores. We created this for the more diehard MMA fan who knows what PRIDE is and who wants a version of his collectible that is a little bit different than what you would find in a FYE store or a Walmart.

Can you tell us a little bit about your Regular Edition figures versus your Limited Edition figures? What are the differences?

DL: The Limited Edition items are produced in limited quantity usually ranging between 500 to 1500 units. We will never end up recreating these items again as they are individually numbered (i.e. 2 of 750) and usually are distinguished by some sort of feature element that is different from a regular unit. The feature elements are broad and can range from recreations of actual signature walkout T-shirts (accurate to the fighter’s actual sponsors for a specific fight), to changes to the actual design of the figure itself. We’ve even gone as far as getting Don Frye to individually sign each of his Limited Edition figures. Often Limited Editions have been resold back into the market a year after launch for 20x the original value, so they are often sold out immediately after launch.

Do the Regular Edition figures appeal to a more general MMA fan whereas the Limited Editions are more for hardcore fans and collectors?

DL: Exactly. The regular editions are for casual fans and at $14.99 nothing really beats it when it comes to MMA memorabilia or gifts. The limited editions are really for diehard fans. We don’t even show images on our website (www.round5mma.com). Images are only shown via our Facebook fan page so unless you are a hardcore fan, you won’t hear about these. If you are a hardcore collector, they might be all you hear about! Granted, we have over 70,000 crazed collectors on our fan page so it makes limited edition items even harder to get after they are initially launched into the market.

Are the points of sale different?

DL: Yes, the regular editions are available in standard retail outlets (i.e. Walmart Canada, Toys “R” US Canada, FYE) meanwhile the limited editions are only available online or through a few select specialty shops.

How about Ultimate Collector Series 10, can you give us some inside info?

DL: It’s probably one of our biggest series to date featuring Anderson Silva, Chael Sonnen, Anthony Pettis, Mark Coleman, Alistair Overeem and Dominick Cruz. It will be available this August.

Finally, how much are these? And where can fans buy them?

DL: The MSRP for the regular editions are $14.99 and available in the United States at FYE or online.  In Canada, they are available at Walmart, Toys “R” Us and online.

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